Age of Librarians (1999)

Mary Jo Lynch, Director, ALA Office for Research and Statistics

Respondents were asked to "Please consider all full-time staff with master's degrees from programs in library and information studies accredited by ALA and estimate how many are in each of the following age groups."

Table 1: Percentage of Librarians by Age Group

Age Group










60 and over


These results confirm evidence of the "graying" of the profession from two other studies done at about the same time. In the spring of 1999, ALA contracted with Readex for a sample survey of ALA members. Although the age categories were slightly different, the results, described in the February 2000 issue of American Libraries , show the same pattern. An in-depth study on the age of librarians in ARL libraries was conducted by Stanley Wilder in 1999 and reported in ARL Report #208/209 for February/March 2000. In addition to analysis of the ARL data, Wilder uses data from the Census Bureau, to show that librarians as a group are older than other professional groups.

All three of these sources indicate that there is a need for sustained effort to recruit new people into the LIS professions and to retain those who are working in libraries today. As large numbers of LIS professionals reach retirement age, there is a corresponding need for new people to replace them.